Meet Kathy Driscoll, Assistant Director of Career Management
Q. How do you view your role as TEAM career placement director? What are your priorities?
A. I work to help TEAM students become the best candidates they can be — through identifying career goals and specific objectives, developing a resume, cover letter and a flexible “pitch” that they can tailor to each position, interviewing preparation, and much more. I am here to essentially help them market themselves. I also actively research and network with prospective employers and startup companies at conferences, local and regional events, and via email correspondence to find ways to connect them to our wonderful students.
Q. What does the TEAM program offer students in terms of career placement?
A. We offer workshops, career counseling lunches, one-on-one coaching, meeting with employers, assistance with resume and cover letter writing, and mock interviews. Additionally, TEAM students have access to the Simon Business School’s career resources at the Career Management Center (which include programs in communications and acculturation for international students). I also host regular, weekly open office hours. I try to facilitate student conversations with employers to help them build relationships. Sometimes that is a small group Skype conversation with a professional at an energy company or a large-group presentation with a senior-level manager.
Q. What skills and characteristics do employers look for?
A. Employers look for candidates who take initiative, the ability to take projects and run with them, and those who have excellent communication skills and work well on teams.
Q. What challenges do students face in securing a job in today’s economy?
A. Students face very stiff competition in some sectors. Many students want to work at Microsoft, Google or Facebook. While not entirely out of reach, it can be very difficult to land in those companies. I also tend to talk to small and medium-sized companies. Startups and expanding organizations are impressed with the interdisciplinary skill sets of TEAM students. The Eastman Kodak model of a corporation has been replaced with a version that rewards smaller more nimble firms.
Q. What sets TEAM graduates apart from their competition?
A. The combination of an in-depth understanding of engineering and business, strong presentation skills, and the ability to work well in teams really sets them apart.
Q. What advice do you offer students to be successful in the job search process?
A. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of developing a professional network — build relationships, join professional groups, get to know some alums, become active in meeting people and talking to them… regularly. Schedule time every day for that.
Q. What can students or even prospective applicants do to give themselves an edge in the job search process?
A. As I said before, build a network of friends, other contacts, and friends-of-friends and research the industry, the companies, the job market, and develop a targeted approach to your job search. Have the discipline to work your plan each and every day. If a search is limited to applying to online job postings, it can take a long time.
Q. Lastly, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A. I enjoy traveling, working out, reading and hanging out with my two boys!!!